Technology, Research, Ecology and Exchange for Students (TREES)


Pauline Sawyers (ELA) measuring the circumference of a tree trunk in Inwood Forest, New York.

The Technology, Research, Ecology and Exchange for Students (TREES) program helps teachers design, implement and evaluate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and STEM/ICT (Information, Communication, Technology) content and teaching strategies for the study of ecology, biodiversity and environmental sustainability in urban ecosystems. The TREES curriculum focuses on community ecology from the perspective of biodiversity and urban ecosystem goods and services such as water and energy. The skills that TREES concentrates on are development through inquiry, scientific method and project-based learning. The workforce component of TREES exposes students and their teachers to the STEM and STEM/ICT professions linked to the natural and human made infrastructure upon which New York City rests (waterways, green space, biota, to name a few). The TREES program is funded by a $1.2 million, three-year grant from NSF’s Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers Division.

EICES seeks to build capacity in secondary education through the multiplier effect of partnering with teachers in interdisciplinary, hands-on science learning for STEM. Educational research indicates that attendance in middle school is linked to performance in high school. Positive learning experiences in middle school can make all the difference. One way to help make this happen is to use the schools and school buildings themselves as “learning labs.”